I started writing Honku after a near-death egg-throwing experience around Christmas 2001. At the time, I lived in a one-bedroom apartment on a quintessential historic Brooklyn street lined by trees and brownstones with big front stoops. Thanks to defects in traffic-signal timing and the brains of New York City motorists, there had always been a lot of horn honking in front of my building. But this one day it got to be too much.

Some jerk in a crappy blue sedan had decided to let loose with a continuous, nonstop blast directly beneath my window. As the honk persisted, I felt my chest tighten and my reptilian fight-or-flight response kick in. I looked outside to see what the problem was. Not only was there no emergency, the traffic light in front of him was red!

I’d had enough. I thought to myself, if this guy is still on the horn in the amount of time it takes me to go to the fridge, get a carton of eggs, and open my window, he’s getting it on the windshield. And I wanted him to know it was me.

My first egg hit his trunk, and the second hit the top of his car with a satisfying thud that managed to break the sustained honk. But I had determined that egg-on-windshield was the just punishment for his crime. By the time the third yolk met glass, he was out of his car and going ballistic.

The honker drove off and, thankfully, I never heard from him again. But the incident left me shaken. I had crossed a line. I had soaked up so much honking and road rage that I had become the honking, I had become the rage. Though my righteous, egg-flinging fury felt sweet and just, my angry response served only to escalate the cycle of frustration and honk-violence. I had to do something. So, a few weeks later, I sat down and came up with my first batch of honku—haiku poems about honking. This is the moment my first honku captured:

You from New Jersey
honking in front of my house
in your SUV

The next time someone steals your parking spot, cuts you off on the freeway, or flips you the bird for no good reason, don’t just sit and stew. Write a honku. Separate yourself from the moment of rage, observe the thing that’s making your blood boil, and crystallize the experience into a pithy little 5-7-5-syllable gem.

What keeps me from just
pelting your honking auto
with rotting garbage?

“ The deer leaps, eyes wide,
freezes in headlights—too late—
venison tonight

“ Four-wheel-drive pickup
I remember his last words—
“Hold my beer, watch this. . .”

If, in fact, TOMRULZ
would he need to announce it
on vanity plates?

Atlanta traffic
easy to see why Sherman
burned this city down

Is it profiling
to say, “Dude in the Hummer
is an idiot”?

Ignorant boyfriend—
honking in the driveway does
not impress my dad

A scolded driver
apologizes to us—
only in Berkeley

Scalding pleather seat—
no problem, I’ll drive myself
to the burn unit

Morning commuters
follow measured lines, honking—
how like geese we are

From Honku: The Zen Antidote to Road Rage, © 2003 by Aaron Naparstek. Reprinted with permission of Villard Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

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